“The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder: Punk & New Wave”
By Steven Rosen
(This first ran in 2006)
Tom Snyder was one heck of a strange television talk-show host. His questions to guests frequently turned into long-winded monologues and he loved nothing more than to try to crack up his (off-camera) crew with adlibs and in-jokes. Today, he comes across as preening – especially when his dark eyebrows and longish hair are framed in tight close-up.
But on his NBC late-night show, broadcast from 1973-1982, he did often let punks and New Wavers play and then talk freely. This two-disc set makes you fast-forward through entire programs just to get to the musicians, but it’s worth it. Elvis Costello is a delightful charmer, Iggy Pop proves to be both an intellectual and a crazed wild man – simultaneously.
The late Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics makes terrible music but is sexy and funny. Patti Smith, who talks but doesn’t sing, poignantly, shyly discusses her vulnerabilities and views on life and death. One can watch Snyder falling in love with her on-screen.
Only a sneering, insulting John Lydon promoting his P.I.L. is a jerk – but then, you’d expect that of him.